Best Folk Rock Artists

Folk rock originates from... you guessed it, folk music. Folk rock hit the mainstream thanks to The Animals 1964 hit "House of the Rising Sun," a song that dates back to the late 19th century. Their success was followed by some of the best remembered artists in the genre including Bob Dylan.

The Top Ten

1 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer . he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016 .

Knockin on heaven's door, all along the watchtower, Chimes of freedom. Bob Dylan was more than a folk rock artist. His music influenced so many significant artists, that some people don't even know that it was originally his music. Bob Dylan is a genius.

I love Bob Dylan, but it is obvious that people voting on this list don't have a clue about Folk Music. Where is John Prine? This list is insulting to anyone who has a clue what they are talking about. He should be number 2, but to not even have him on the list makes this list totally invalid.

Not that you'll ever see this, but John Prine isn't generally regarded as a folk-rock artist. However, you or others could add him to this list and see if the moderators allow his inclusion - Billyv

Each of his song bears depth in lyrics with simple but beautiful tune. His songs can swing your mood better than anything. Such beauty, such composure! The best folk rock artist ever born!

Bob Dylan = Folk Music like Bob Marley = Reggae Music. Nobody epitomizes Folk more than Dylan.

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2 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

Neil young is brilliant. He is one of the only musicians which capture the real essence of emotion in his song. You can connect heart of gold with loss and are you ready for the country with hope. He is also quite funny too. One of the truly great folk artist. He and big Dylan are #1 for me because I can't choose which is better.

I've been listening to this guy all my life and he still amazes me. He's the reason I learned to play guitar and harmonica. He was the reason buffalo Springfield was so cool. Cheers

Neil Young is the reason I started to sing and play harmonica when I play guitar. There are some great artists on this list, but I truly believe that Neil rises above all. Some of his songs can be used to define Folk/Folk Rock. The song writing he has done is legendary.

Hey, Hey, My, My
Rock and roll can never die!

Discovered Neil Young in 1970, I was 11 years old. And I'm 58 now and I'm still listening and loving his music. He is all about the music and he makes you feel it. A true musician who never sold out. The Best.

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3 Simon & Garfunkel

Go on YouTube and search the song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". It is a song filled with beauty and wonder. Paul Simon was one of the greatest song writers and Art Garfunkel has such an amazing voice.

I can't believe Mumford and Sons are in the number 2 spot, I don think they reach the standards of artists such as: Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young etc.

This band does not have a bad song. Paul Simon is an amazing songwriter, writing every song they made. "The Sounds of Silence" is a deep song with amazing lyrics. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is such an inspirational song. Don't forget "Homeward Bound", "Cecelia", "Scarborough Fair", and "Mrs. Robinson". There is something for everyone

Folk geniuses who inter grated pop stylings to be appealing as well as brilliant

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4 Mumford and Sons Mumford and Sons Mumford & Sons are a British rock band from London, formed in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane.

They are the best in current scenario. Because, they learnt from Bob Dylan. Their 2nd album "Babel" won the Album of the year award at prestigious 2013 Grammy awards. - ankittayal1

Mumford and Sons are excellent and I could listen to them all day, but number two? What about Cat Stevens, Neil Young etc?

Mumford and sons are amazing. They're going to have so many more Grammy winning albums in their future

Don't deserve to be #3.

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5 Nick Drake Nick Drake Nicholas Rodney "Nick" Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician, known for his acoustic guitar-based songs. A singular talent who passed almost unnoticed during his brief lifetime, his work has posthumously achieved wider notice and recognition.

It's sad because not many people know the story behind his sad soul so I will. Nick drake was not a Syd Barrett or Keith moon. He was known to take drugs but that's not what killed him. What killed him was the same mental disorder these 3 musicians all had: bipolar disorder. He gecame so depressed it was the death of him. Such a sad soul with so little time on the limelight.

A poor talented soul who deserved much more during his lifetime.

Such a beautiful voice. Could listen to him all day.

A genius. Period.

6 The Byrds The Byrds The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial more.

Byrds not only mixed successfully Dylan with Beatles, their best work goes beyond that, a mix of psychedelia, jazz, great pop melodies and harmonies is what shapes their best, "Younger Than Yesterday" is the proof, it shows their talent, McGuinn's 12 string sounding like the combination of a Harpsichord and a Banjo marks their distinctive sounds.

They invented the genre "Folk Rock".

The invented "Folk Rock."

Seventh place for a band that put electricity into the folk music they played? S and G hated what Tom Wilson did to their acoustic folk music and didn't want it rocked up. And Mumford and Son a rock band? Really?

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7 Leonard Cohen Leonard Cohen Leonard Norman Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist . Cohen died on November 7, 2016 at the age of 82 .

Leonard Cohen below Mumford And Sons? Piss off

Leonard was nothing short of incredible, amazing, and wonderful. He was a special man who will be missed and continued to be loved by his true fans!

Seriously! Piss off! Leonard Cohen is THE MAN.

The best what more needs said

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8 Joni Mitchell Joni Mitchell

The album Blue is one of the best albums of all time regardless of genre. The songwriting is superb. Joni is right up there with bob and Neil as well as James and Carole!

Brilliant. Should be in the top 3.

Best artist

9 The Band The Band The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group formed in 1965 . Which originally consisting of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, vocals) and Robbie Robertson more.

Take a load off Annie and you put the load right on me

10 Cat Stevens Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam, commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist.

Where is Cat? He is always forgotten because he converted to Islam and changed his name, but back in his reign, during the 70's, he wrote some of the greatest songs of all time including Peace Train, Wild World, Foreigner Suite, Moonshadow, and many more.

Absolutely. Creativity abounds from this man. If only that incident in the ocean never happened who knows how many more great Stevens albums we would have had. I just discovered him at the age of 31 his year and could only wish I knew of him earlier and before is 2016 tour so I could have gone to see him live.

This is Cat Stevens territory, this category. Move him up!

Brilliant. Grew up listening to Cat. Father and Son is my all-time favourite song.

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The Contenders

11 Crosby, Stills, and Nash

The best harmony band ever. All know about Young but Stills was very good on guitar particularly the acoustic in addition to being very good song writer and a great vocalist. Crosby and Nash blended in with perfect harmonies while often contributing some brilliant songs. However most of their later albums were disappointing

Some of the greatest harmonies ever. Crosby from the Byrds, Stills from Buffalo Springfield (and later Neil Young), and Graham Nash from the Hollies. Suite:Judy Blue Eyes, written for Judy Collins, is particularly amazing.

I love Crosby, Stills, and Nash so much. My four teddy bears named Violet, Bluebell, Rose, and Lily love them.

Should be in 2nd behind S&G

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12 The Animals The Animals The Animals were an English band of the 1960s, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, during the early part of the decade.

I don't consider the animals folk, however, they are fantastic

Not necessarily folk, but truly a great band. - naFrovivuS

13 James Taylor James Taylor James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Is Fire and Rain the best song ever written? If not there aren't many above it.

His version of "Steam Roller" is brill and shocking fantastic

There are things about this list that do look a little screwy. The Animals were terrific, but they're not folk rock, and they're in the top ten? Mumford &Sons are good, but not second best. This seems like it is a relatively new list, so it should straighten itself out, hopefully. Meanwhile, J. T. Is incredible, and should be top five.

14 The Dream Academy
15 The Mamas & the Papas The Mamas & the Papas The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971.

The members should have been John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips, and Jill Gibson. Then I would have liked the band more if Cass Elliot was dropped from the group because of her stupid size, her stupid hair, her stupid hooked nose, and her creepy voice.

The Mamas and the Papas suck! They made everything worse. If any member had to be dropped from the band, it would be Cass Elliot because she was too fat and too round.

I HATE the Mamas and the Papas so much! They suck. Peter, Paul, and Mary are way better than the Mamas and the Papas

I've always found John Phillips annoying because of his stupid hat, his stupid hair, his stupid moustache, and his stupid beard.

I've always found Denny Doherty annoying because of his stupid hair, his stupid moustache, and his stupid beard.

I've always found Michelle Phillips annoying because of her stupid hair, her stupid lips, and her stupid pouty face.

I've always found Cass Elliot annoying because of her stupid hair, her stupid hooked nose, her stupid ugly fat face, and she was too fat and too round.

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16 The Lumineers

Name ten contemporary folk albums that you can listen to straight through without skipping a track. Both Lumineers albums will be in that top ten. Simply amazing attention to detail. Check out the KEXP live sessions from them. Amazing artists. Amazingly rugged. Amazingly simple. Amazing.

The songs and lyrics have a meaning! Music with great lyrics, is great music

Everyone of their songs are incredible. I would definitely switch them out with Mumford and sons


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17 Gordon Lightfoot Gordon Lightfoot

Absolutely. Move this man WAY up! So underrated, not just his singles, but album cuts like Beautiful, For Lovin' Me, Daylight Katy, does great covers too (Me and Bobby McGee, Last Thing on My Mind). Great singer and songwriter.

"The Edmund Fitzgerald" It's in my head and I can't get it out! This great singer songwriter is pure Folk Rock. He should be at least in the top 5 in this line-up.

One of the originators of the genre, certainly worth the top ten.

So underrated and underappreciated - Billyv

18 Syd Barrett Syd Barrett Roger Keith Barrett was an English musician, composer, singer, songwriter, and painter. Best known as a founder member of the band Pink Floyd, Barrett was the lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter in its early years and is credited with naming the band.

I would have voted for Neil Young but then I saw Syd. This man is really the definition of "mad genius". He was quite insane, and took way to many drugs, but he was still able to craft musical masterpieces, including Pink Floyds first album "Piper at the Gates of Dawn". - Doom

A true genius, constructed music so well and lyrics were just majestic, a real individual, they'll never be anyone like him again.

Very good folk and psychedelic rock musician with one of the saddest history in the music business.

Key songs:
Baby lemonade
Dark globe

After he was with Pink Floyd he started folk. You can tell the folk rock in him from songs like the gnome and bike. Great folk music. Great musicianx

19 Jeff Buckley Jeff Buckley Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997) raised as Scott "Scottie" Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. more.

Beautiful, poetic lyrics, beautiful and accomplished vocals, great guitar, great chords etc etc

Grace. What more could you want?

Rest in Peace Jeff Buckley!

My everything. Period.

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20 Jim Croce Jim Croce
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List Stats

1,000 votes
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5 years, 93 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Neil Young
2. Bob Dylan
3. Nick Drake
1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Simon & Garfunkel
1. Nick Drake
2. Bob Dylan
3. Joni Mitchell

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